FAQs

What is racism?

Racism is a combination of attitudes, beliefs and behaviours; such as: believing your race is superior to another race; offensive or aggressive behaviour towards someone due to their race, language, or culture.

What is racial discrimination? Is it different to Racism?

Racial discrimination is an extension of racist thoughts or feelings. It is discrimination (i.e. a behaviour or practice) based on a person’s skin colour, cultural heritage or nationality which stops the victim from participating fully in public life.

Who is Racist?

At some point in our lives, all of us will have thoughts or feelings that are racist. This is because of how pervasive racism is in all societies around the world. Racial discrimination occurs when thoughts become actions.

How do I know whether a comment is Racist?

A comment is racist if person is offended by a comment about or relating to their skin colour, nationality or cultural background regardless of whether or not the comment was intended to be hurtful or offensive.

Where does Racism Happen?

Racism can happen anywhere. The Australian Human Rights Commission has a guide about dealing with racism online.

How does Australia Compare?

People who hold racist views in Australia are a vocal minority whose opinions are not shared by the majority of Australians. However, 4 in 10 people are ambiguous as to what racism looks like and where and when it can occur while acknowledging that it does happen.

What is Multiculturalism? How is it linked to Racism?

Generally, multiculturalism means people from many cultures living or working together within an atmosphere of mutual respect.

The opposite of this is assimilation, where people from a dominant culture expect newcomers to live or work with them in exactly the same way.

When I go overseas on holiday, I am expected to fit in, so why shouldn’t I expect people who come here to “FIT IN” Also?

When you go overseas, you are usually catered to by tourist services that have been set up to ensure you have an enjoyable holiday or business trip. For example, you probably stay in a hotel where the staff speaks several languages including English. Their concierge (or your guidebook) can advise you about the most appropriate way to behave locally so that you remain safe during your stay.

Why are only “WHITE” nations like Australia expected to open their borders?

Some people believe that only “white” nations are expected to open their borders to immigration while “non-white” nations are not.

People who use this argument refer to “white” nations as those with a white majority like Australia, Canada, United States and the United Kingdom while nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are “non-white”.

How can I behave in a culturally respectful way?

It is impossible to answer this question directly because there are hundreds of cultures from around the world, and every culture has its own customs. Nobody is an expert on all of these cultures, and that is okay. If you want to be culturally respectful, do your best to learn and understand as much as you can about someone’s culture or way of life. Take some time to get to know the basic and important aspects of the culture you’re engaging with. Being genuine, respectful, and honest is important.

Is Discriminating Against Muslims Racist?

Some people say discriminating against Muslims is racist. Others say it isn’t racist because Islam is a religion, not a race. We think it doesn’t matter either way: discrimination is offensive and illegal.

What can I personally do to help erase Racism?

Practise ways of safely speaking up against racism.  And see our infographic on how to respond if you witness racism on the bus

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